Fast Fashion vs Slow Fashion: A Quick Comparison

fast fashion vs slow fashion

Fast fashion vs slow fashion represents two contrasting voices in the fashion industry, but what exactly are the differences between them? How can you be mindful of the environment? Or, more importantly, is slow fashion here to stay?

Let’s explore these two contrasting models and find out which option works best for us. If you want to make more informed choices, read till the end.

What is Fast Fashion?

Fast fashion is a business model in the industry characterized by the rapid production of inexpensive, trendy clothing. The process involves quickly moving designs from the runway to retail stores to meet current fashion trends.

The global revenue of the fast fashion industry in 2022 was approximately $106.2 billion, and it is growing exponentially. It takes only about two weeks for this fashion model to transform designs from the designer’s table to ready-to-wear items in stores.

What is Slow Fashion?

Slow fashion is an approach that emphasizes sustainability, ethical practices, and mindful consumption. It is also often referred to as green fashion. In contrast to the fast fashion model, which prioritizes rapid production and swift trends, slow fashion focuses on the quality, durability, and environmental impact of clothing.

Slow fashion also utilizes mostly natural materials that are less toxic. You can read about some materials, like bamboo or mushroom leather, in our article about biodegradable clothing.

Fast Fashion vs Slow Fashion: Which is Better?

The differences between fast and slow fashion can easily be understood by comparing their key elements below.

Key Traits for Slow or Non-Fast Fashion Brands

Slow or non-fast fashion can get a bit expensive but quality does not come for free. It actually provides a lot more than quality as it leads to a better livelihood for people and sustains the environment.

  1. Sustainable Practices: Slow fashion advocates for environmentally friendly production methods, such as using eco-friendly materials and reducing carbon footprints.
  2. Ethical Considerations: The concept considers fair labor practices, ensuring that workers are treated ethically and paid fairly.
  3. Mindful Production: Non-fast fashion brands value thoughtful design, craftsmanship, and timeless styles, encouraging consumers to make more conscious and intentional clothing choices. In return, they urge users to be mindful of waste production and minimize it as much as possible.

Key Traits for Fast Fashion Brands

  1. Environmental Impact: Fast fashion contributes to environmental degradation, being the second-largest consumer of water and responsible for nearly 10% of global carbon emissions.
  2. Unfair Payment: 85% of the employees receive 4 to 6 cents per piece due to extremely low wages. As a result, the brand remains affordable for the public and profitable for investors. However, it presents an ethical dilemma that garment workers have to face.
  3. Synthetic Fabrics: They often use synthetic fabrics derived from fossil fuels which adds more pollution to the air and causes problems for the whole planet. Reusable fabrics, on the other hand, take time, energy, and resources to produce. Thus, they are mostly employed in slow fashion production cycles.


Choosing non-fast fashion brands is important to tackle the environmental and ethical challenges the industry poses. The negative impacts of fast fashion, as an unsustainable and polluting sector, necessitate a shift towards eco-friendly practices. Hence, slow fashion, emphasizing local and seasonal materials, fair trade practices, and transparency in the supply chain, it serves as a beacon of hope.

The honest debate is actually not between fast fashion and slow fashion, but rather between what is right and wrong. Is it worth to put short term gains above long term damages for the planet and her inhabitants?

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